…That’s Amore!

No matter how you slice it, pizza is purely a food of convenience.

One call, and a ding-dong later, you’ve got a steaming hot dinner at your door step.

And thanks to that one “pizza, pizza” place you can get a large 8-slicer for $5. They even have a drive-thru.

Then there are your friends Mama Celeste, Totino, and Palermo. They live in your freezer, hang out with your oven, and make love to your appetite. Those hot-and-ready whores come with a price, though… literally, and figuratively: they’re not fresh, and they’re often victims of freezer frost.

Why not make your own? It’s so easy. There’s the ready-made tubes of dough in the refrigerated section. I like them, but they’re packed with preservatives. So are the read-to-use, already baked and bagged brands.

I’ve told you about my black bean pizza already… remember??

I’ll admit it. I’ve never made my own from scratch. Yeast kind of freaks me out. I will, however, do it one day. I pizza promise.

To make life easier, I’ll often use English Muffins. If you get the right one (multi-grain), they’re pretty good for you. They’re perfectly portioned, unless you eat 12 of them. They’re great for the kiddies, too. It’s a pint-sized pie they can decorate themselves.

This time, though, I went with another idea. I used sandwich rounds. It’s like a thin-crust pizza. They’re cheap, and I got the healthier version.

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By the way, a gift of beautifully big basil leaves from Mary Lu (my friend, and common commenter on here) and my farmers’ market finds were the whole reason I got onto this pizza kick. I found these little baby Japanese eggplants, that in my mind, looked like the perfect addition to a pie… and I was right.

You know I never do things the simple way, and here’s more proof: I made 4 different kinds of pizzas.

Mediterranean: I caramelized thin slices of eggplant.

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I made my own hummus for the base. Store-bought hummus is tasty, especially all the different blends (spicy, Greek, roasted red pepper), and so is home-made. The do-it-yourself way requires sesame paste, or tahini, which is pretty pricey. I made mine with sesame oil.

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It’s not cheap either, but I already had it. I use the sesame oil in stir-fries and Asian dishes. You get more bang for your buck. I can’t image putting an $8 jar of tahini to use all the time. Fresh tomatoes and capers rounded out this pie.

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Margherita: The basil mentioned above, fresh mozzarella, and simple (store-bought) tomato sauce. Top it off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some cracked black pepper.

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Pesto-Portabello: Whole Foods makes this and it’s like an invisible leash that forever tethers you to their pizza island. They don’t seem to have it any more, so I tried to re-create it. I caramelized baby bella mushrooms (these are meatier and better for you than the button variety).

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Use some butter and olive oil in a big pan. Don’t crowd the slices. You want each one to get one-on-one time with the pan.

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Cook, then flip. They should brown, not steam. Use some store-bought pesto and grated provolone cheese to finish off this one.

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Cheese: I was feeding two starving kids who’d sooner give up the Disney Channel than eat my other creations. So, I made them good ol’ cheese pizzas with store-bought sauce and grated mozzarella.

Think about this. I made all of those pizzas (8 of them) with one package of sandwich rounds, one jar of sauce, and a few other ingredients.

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I baked all of these on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes on 400. You want everything to melt and blend, not burn. When I do it again, I think I’ll pre-bake the crusts just to give them a little more crispness. Maybe 5-10 on 400. Then top them and bake for 10 minutes.

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These little pizzas would make great appetizers for a party, too.

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If you like having fun with your food… make pizza! It’s a piece of.. well.. pie.

Tip: You could also go the dessert route with the pizzas. Paint the sandwich rounds (or make giant sugar cookies) with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then decorate with chocolate chips, fruit, or peanut butter.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary Lu Saylor says:

    I’ve been wondering what you created with the basil. Good to see it make a cameo appearance. If you need more let me know. I also have an explosion of oregano now too.

    One suggestion. It looked (from the photos) like you were using the sandwich thins whole. I’ve split them apart and made small pizzas that are super crispy.

    You must come over and we will make an easy, herb infused pizza crust.

    I’m going to work on a low fat pesto concoction. I will let you know how that works out.

    Happy eating!
    ML

    1. I thought about splitting them, but they looked too thin. I’ll give it a try next item!
      The herb-infused pizza dough sounds wonderful!!!

  2. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight????

  3. seedaverun says:

    I second Mary Lu’s suggestion, but I’m curious if you decided to use the sandwich thins whole for a specific reason. I’ve used the thins, but like you mentioned, more often use English Muffins. Last week I made a pizza on a tortilla, then topped it with a second tortilla and sprinkled different cheeses on the top. It turned out pretty well too. Will try your recipe though.

    1. The sandwich thins I used seemed way too thin when split… I was worried about the sauce leaking through them. I’m definitely going to try them split next time… I’d get more pizzas that way, too! I think I’m going to try using Naan at some point. It’s just a bit more pricey for what you get in one package.

  4. seedaverun says:

    I should say too that if you split the the thins, you’ll have to keep a close eye on them so they don’t curl and overcook. That’s no fun.

  5. Kelly says:

    I gave up on homemade pizza dough and pancakes! I usually end up throwing it away. Friday I’m using Grands biscuits as mini-pizza dough and letting me kids “decorate” them! 🙂

  6. lisamaesc says:

    I agree with others – you should use half of the sandwich thins. I like thin and crispy pizza. Another thought – you’ll make homemade pasta, but not pizza dough? Really? I always make my own pizza dough. It’s SO easy. I’m going to try the pasta one weekend.

    1. I make pizza dough from scratch all the time. I just haven’t really blogged about it. I did do a post on yeast, and in that one I made calzones with homemade dough.
      I also make my pizza sauce from scratch. It’s very easy. It’s the tip at the bottom of this post.
      Let me know how the pasta works out! It’s a lot of fun.

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